Cash reliance: >50% of people in 43/48 UK counties still reliant on cash

According to research from PayPoint, County Down in Northern Ireland is the most cash-reliant county in the UK. The research combines PayPoint sales data, looking at cash as an overall percentage of transactions in its network of 28,000 UK stores over FY20/21, with regional attitudinal data of how many people say they are reliant on cash.

Of the 48 UK counties included in the study, 43 have an overall cash reliance score of >50%, indicating that the need for cash by millions of people to support day-to-day expenditure is still of major importance across the whole of the UK.

The research also reveals how a north-south divide could emerge in a cashless society, with the most cash-reliant counties spread across the north of England, the West Midlands and the devolved nations. After County Down, County Antrim, Lanarkshire, Merseyside and County Durham all feature highly in the ranking.

Furthermore, the data shows that:

  • Two thirds of all transactions in PayPoint’s network of convenience stores – which have boomed in popularity as people shopped locally during the pandemic – are made in cash.
  • One in five (21%) people across the UK still use an ATM two to three times a week.
  • 64% of Brits think more should be done to protect cash, rising to 67% in Scotland.

Nick Wiles, Chief Executive of PayPoint, said: “Among continued sensationalism and scaremongering over the decline of cash, it is more important than ever that we recognise its continued importance to communities around the UK.

“Despite the rise of digital payments during the pandemic, we must not forget that many people are still reliant on cash, and they are also often the most vulnerable in society. This is why PayPoint remains committed that, through our 28,000 strong retailer network, any individual can access cash whenever they need it. Later this year we will begin a nation-wide roll out of a new Over The Counter service for those who require cash in exact denominations, following its hugely successful 2021 trial period. This will allow anyone in the UK who needs to make exact withdrawals, down to the penny, to do so without relying on meeting the minimum requirements of ATMs.

“It is the continued investment in such services that demonstrates PayPoint puts action over hyperbole in its ambition to safeguard cash access over the long term. I would urge our industry partners, competitors and Westminster to do the same.”

The UK’s cash reliance county rankings are as follows:

UK County Cash reliance score
County Down 69%
County Antrim 64%
Lanarkshire 64%
West Midlands 64%
Merseyside 64%
County Durham 63%
South Yorkshire 63%
Midlothian 63%
Lancashire 63%
Renfrewshire 63%
West Yorkshire 62%
Angus 62%
Gwent 62%
Norfolk 62%
Greater Manchester 62%
Stirlingshire 62%
North Yorkshire 62%
Fife 61%
Greater London 61%
Mid Glamorgan 61%
Cleveland 61%
Tyne and Wear 61%
Cheshire 60%
Middlesex 60%
West Lothian 59%
Staffordshire 59%
Derbyshire 58%
Gwynedd 58%
Essex 57%
Warwickshire 57%
Shropshire 56%
Leicestershire 56%
South Glamorgan 55%
Lincolnshire 55%
Bedfordshire 55%
Northamptonshire 55%
Kent 55%
Nottinghamshire 54%
Aberdeenshire 54%
Hertfordshire 52%
East Sussex 52%
Surrey 51%
Dorset 51%
Hampshire 49%
Berkshire 49%
Buckinghamshire 49%
West Sussex 48%
Oxfordshire 46%